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Legal Sustainability CONNECT 
ideas + people = opportunity  

AusLSA Bulletin
July-December 2018


Welcome to the Australian Legal Sector's Bulletin
The Australian Legal Sector Bulletin keeps you up to date with a collection of the most interesting articles, tools and events from AusLSA, fellow members, legal industry leaders and sustainability leaders.

Spread the word - Please recommend this Bulletin  to your friends and colleagues with an interest in the sustainability of your firm.

Our 2018 Legal Sector Sustainability Insight is OUT NOW!

The latest sustainability report from the members of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance was released on the 7th of December 2018.

The report explores the issues, commitments and performance of legal firms across the areas of people, community, environment and governance.

CLICK HERE to read the report

CLICK HERE to see the introductory video

Assent for Modern Slavery Bill (153, 2018)

Both Houses of Parliament passed the Modern Slavery Bill on 29 November 2018, with assent on 10 December 2018. This Act requires entities based, or operating, in Australia, which have an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million, to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and actions to address those risks. Other entities based, or operating, in Australia may report voluntarily. AusLSA will work towards the integration of these reporting requirements into our SRAT in 2019.

 Read the Modern Slavery Bill HERE.

Speaking out about mental health issues

Part of the stigma attached to addressing mental health issues is the perceived inability to speak openly.

AusLSA member firm Baker Mckenzie have a program called 'This is Me', which encourages people from all levels in the firm to speak out about how they are feeling. This can be a daunting experience that takes courage from the affected individual. Baker McKenzie are demonstrating they have the courage to help. 

Read the Lawyers Weekly story HERE.

Staff must want to "come to work"

Senior partners from Herbert Smith Freehills recently spoke to Lawyers Weekly about the importance of making staff feel wanted and respected in order for them to bring their 'whole self' to the table. Fostering a nurturing environment is paramount to the success of a big law firm and this is key to workplaces that support physical and mental health.

Read the Lawyers Weekly article HERE.

Allens announces fifth Reconciliation Action Plan

Our member firm, Allens Linklaters recently launched their firth RAP to demonstrate continued commitment to reconciliation and includes a number of new actions to be achieved by 2021.

Allens say that "for us, contribution comes through in a number of areas such as our pro bono work, our internship and our collaboration with other community groups". 

See Allens media release HERE.

Dentons launches first transgender legal service in Australia

AusLSA member firm, Dentons, have launched a Trans and Gender Diverse Legal Service, the first in Australia. This is a pro bono service that provides trans and gender diverse people and their families with support and free legal advice on a range of issues relating to or arising from their transgender or diverse status.

See the Dentons press release HERE.

A great discussion about flexible working

Flexible working is one of AusLSA's key reporting elements and we know that flexible working policies at law firms is often a key factor in attraction and retention of staff.

See this great webcast from Lawyer's Weekly where the benefits of flexible working are discussed. AusLSA member firm, Allens, is also represented on the panel. 

See the video HERE.

Two of our member firms talk about Workplace Wellness in a two-part conversation

Managing partners from DLA Piper and Swaab Attorneys this week spoke about the roles that our firms leaders must play to ensure the health and well-being of our employees.

Both firms have implemented workplace practices that cater for the needs of fee earners and legal staff. In the same way that we look to our firm's leaders for culture and values, wellness and caring for all levels of staff must also come from the top. 

See the two part conversation from Lawyers Weekly PART1 and PART2.

A good piece of legal work, but also a good environmental outcome

Congratulations to AusLSA member firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth for the advice to the State of Victoria on the Renewable Energy Auction, which will deliver 928MW of new renewable generation to the state. Great legal work, but also a good outcome for the environment.

See the press release from Corrs HERE.

Who do Partners want to work for?
US legal research organisation, Acritas, recently surveyed lawyers at a number of global firms, and asked who they are more likely to work for.
Reasons like reputation, people, culture, gender equity, values, fairness, opportunity were all used. No surprise that all of these are these are themes included in our sustainability framework!.

See the article as reported by Australasian Lawyer

AusLSA Member Firm kicks a best practice goal!
AusLSA member firm, Corrs have announced that they will now make superannuation contributions to employees during both paid and unpaid parental leave periods. Corrs already provides best practice level paid leave to primary and secondary carers, and the extension to include superannuation payments is another step towards achieving pay equity.

See their press release

Aligning to the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Japanese Investment Group Daiwa Securities are using SDGs to ensure their business survival for the next 100 years. They say that "unless they are a company that is needed by society, then they cannot survive", and aim to create a business model that can positively influence and contribute to society.

By identifying finance, technology, local regeneration and poverty as key themes they will convey the company's direction to employees and stakeholders. 

Read their interview with 'Sustainable Brands' HERE.

Congratulations to AusLSA Member Firms

Congratulations to AusLSA member firms Dentons, Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper for being named in the 2018 Working Mother 60 List, compiled in conjunction with the US based ABA Journal. For 11 years, Working Mother (US) has recognised US firms who utilise best practices to retain and promote women lawyers. 

Despite being based on US data, our member firms are proud to have been named and already have significant programs in place to attract, retain and advance women in their firms. 

See the Working Mother article HERE 

G+T announces Carbon Neutral Status

Congratulations to our member firm, Gilbert + Tobin who have announced that their Sydney, Melbourne and Perth operations will now be purchasing carbon offsets to cover all their emissions.

G+T acknowledge that this important step reinforces their values and the importance to society and business in caring for the environment. We note that the gross emissions reported from G+T operations in AusLSA's annual reports has been decreasing over the last three years and that offsetting is their next logical progression. They will join other AusLSA firms, Clayton Utz, Allens, FB Rice and Hall and Wilcox who all reported net zero emissions in our report last year. 

See the press release from G+T HERE.

LCA suggests penalties necessary for Modern Slavery Laws

While reputational damage for companies who do not comply with modern slavery legislation should be sufficient impetus to encourage reporting, the Law Council of Australia will make a submission to parliamentary committee that financial penalties should also be considered. 

The LCA welcomes the requirement to report on modern slavery risks in supply chains, however believes that the proposed act should include a lower reporting threshold, financial penalties for non-compliance, an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and a national compensation scheme for victims of Modern Slavery. 

See their press release HERE.  

Maddocks on achieving gender eqality

In a recent article from Australasian Lawyer, Michelle Dixon, partner and chief executive of Maddocks underlines the multitude of benefits that gender diversity brings to a firm. 

Maddocks were recently awarded an employer of choice citation for gender equality, so who better to speak on the subject. Michelle says that from Maddocks' perspective, gender diversity is both a commercial imperative and competitive advantage. Also cited in the article is Justine Rowe, general counsel of Telstra who offers a three-step plan of action. Both Michelle and Justine will be speaking at the Women in Law summit in Sydney in September. 

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